GUADALAJARA, Mexico – A hippopotamus calf has become the main attraction at the Guadalajara Zoo, in the capital of the western Mexican state of Jalisco.
Though “Beto” – as the calf was provisionally named – was born on May 28, the 56-kilo (123-pound) baby hippo has remained under his mother’s close care, zoo communications director Danae Vazquez told EFE.
At only six weeks of age, the little hippo is happy and brave, already venturing into the water on his own under his mother’s watchful eye.
“Gina is an excellent mom,” Vazquez said. “She is careful, loving and, when she has to impose limits, she does. She won’t let him go to the deeper parts yet, so they hang out in the shallow end where the baby can swim and be in the water.”
The baby’s habitat, known as “Kiboko Bwawa,” includes an underwater viewing area,where visitors can see the two hippos frolicking about.
For now, Tartufo, the calf’s father, is kept in a separate pen, as the caretakers decided that it would be in Beto’s best interest to have the space all to himself and Gina.
Hippos are the third heaviest land animals on the planet- behind elephants and rhinos – and can remain under water for as long as 20 minutes without coming out for air.